Knot Possible

| Oshawa, ON, Canada | Crazy Requests, Home Improvement

(I work in the lumber department of my store. I spot an older customer, studying our 2×4 lumber. She looks very sour.)

Me: “Hi there, ma’am. Can I help you with anything?”

Customer: “Yes, I need a 2×4, but I don’t want one with knots.”

Me: “Well, that’s going to be tricky with these. Just about every one that I’ve ever seen has a least a few knots here and there.”

Customer: “No, I need one with no knots. I’m working on a project and if there are knots, the wood will break.”

Me: “Well, I have some pieces of pine select; no knots in them at all!”

Customer: “Oh, I looked at those. They’re too expensive; I’m on a pension you know. What about that one up there? It looks clean.”

(The customer points to a fresh lift of lumber, and it indeed looks clean, but the home is full.)

Me: “Well, ma’am, I’m willing to bet that they’ll have just as many knots as this lift.”

Customer: “Show me!”

(I begin the process of getting a driver, and pulling down the lift. Due to the fact that I have to close down the main lumber aisle to due so, two assistant managers are watching me. As they watch, I open the lift and start sorting through the pieces, showing the older lady that they all have knots in them.)

Customer: “This is ridiculous!”

(After she leaves, one of the managers walks over to me.)

Manager: “What was wrong with the wood?”

Me: “She didn’t want any knots in her 2×4.”

Manager: “Yeah, find a tree without branches and we’ll give her a 2×4 without knots.”

A Colorful Comeback

| Marietta, GA, USA | Bigotry, Theme Of The Month, Top

(I am getting ready to check out a customer. The only other customers present are a large African American family. My customer is a middle aged Caucasian woman. She leans forward, and motions to me as if she wants to tell me a secret.)

Customer: “There are black people behind you.”

Me: “Uh… yes, ma’am?”

Customer: “You have to watch out for them, you know.”

(I step back and stare, not knowing exactly how to respond to this. My quick thinking coworker walks by.)

Coworker: “Their money is the exact same color as your money.”

Customer: “What!… Well… I…”

(She leaves her merchandise on the counter and exits the store in a huff.)

Cannot Speak The Language Of Respect

| USA | Bigotry, Geography, Language & Words, Theme Of The Month, Top

(I am out to eat with a friend, and we are waiting for our table. There is an older Spanish-speaking couple nearby also waiting, and two boys of about high-school age. I don’t speak Spanish, but I picked up a handful of words from an old job.)

Spanish-Speaking Woman: *asks me a question in Spanish*

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. I only know a few words in Spanish. What was that?”

Spanish-Speaking Woman: *smiles, and repeats herself*

(I realize she needs to know where the bathroom is.)

Me: “Oh! See the stairs? Go to the hallway next to the stairs; it’s right there.”

(She thanks me, and hurries off to the bathroom. The high school boys make faces at me, and chime in.)

Boy #1: “Damn, b****, why are you helping them? You should’ve made them ask in English first!”

Me: “I’m not going to dignify that with a response.”

Boy #2: “Hey! You show me and my friend some respect, old lady! Do you know who we are?”

Me: “I don’t care who you are, my dear child. Why don’t you go bother somebody else?”

Boy #1: “Oh, hell naw! You ain’t talkin’ to me like that! You show me some respect, right now!”

(He stamps his foot. My friend and I burst out laughing.)

Me: “Oh, this is going to be an entertaining evening.”

Boy #1: “You ain’t allowed to laugh at me; I’m a man!”

Me: “No, dear. What you are is a minor child throwing a temper tantrum because you happen to be a racist. Now, shoo, adults are talking.”

Boy #2: “Naw! All you gotta do is show them d*** immigrants who’s boss! They gotta speak our language if they want to be here! I went to Mexico and none of them f****** spoke English! Ain’t got no respect!”

Me: “You do realize that Mexico is a different country, don’t you?”

Boy #2: “Duh!”

Me: “And their official language is Spanish.”

Boy #2: “So?”

Me: “So… you think that people who move here should have to speak English because most people here do, in some form or another. But when you visit other countries, where official language is not English, they should have to learn to make your life easier?”

Boy #2: “Yes!”

Me: “I… have a headache.”

(The older Spanish-speaking couple are seated a few tables away from us. The teens are there to apply for jobs, but because they’d put on their little display in full view of the hostess, they were not-so-kindly shown the door.)